It’s fun to add a Lens flare effect to a backlit image. However, Photoshop does not allow you to add the effect to a blank layer, meaning you cannot work with it non-destructively.
This secret that PHLEARN shares in this 6 mins video tutorial puts the lens flare on its own layer so that you can have full flexibility to edit it non-destructively. Have fun with warming or cooling the sun flare color, transforming the flare angle and masking out part of the flare to hide unwanted parts.
Skill level: Basic understanding of Photoshop layer / blending mode & masking
Summarized for the busy person
- Apply the Lens flare image to the image, then Ctrl + Z to Undo.
- Create a new layer & fill it (Shift + Del) with black
- Re-apply the last filter (the Lens flare obviously) – Menu / Filter / first option (Ctrl + F)
- Change the layer blending mode to Screen – All in 4 steps!
- The next steps are only for editing the lens flare which is now on its own layer
- Change the hue of the lens flare
- Transform (Ctrl + T) the lens flare to change the size & angle of light
- Mask out unwanted parts of the flare
A secret worth unlocking indeed. So what are you waiting for? Time to let your imagination fly!
Making the image a Smart Object will not give you the same flexibility.